Tank Car Tuesday

  Today me and the girlfriend were both off from work and decided to head over to the Credit Valley Railway.. Ok. Okay… I decided. But as always she was happy to come along and see what’s new at the train store. I didn’t have any projects in mind so we went just for shits n giggles. After inspecting the store from end to end I decided to buy a pair of tank cars. One from Tangent scale models and the other from Atlas that I planned on re-painting. The Tangent Car has always been on my list of things to buy that I never really end up buying. Tangent makes some great models that are 100% prototypical. Take that rivet counters. I know you you’ll say they’re off by a couple of bolts or whatever. Who cares.. Anyway, I grabbed one of those 1949 Re-built General American acid tank car that have been out for a year or so. They’re sold out on the site so a brick and mortar hobby store is the only place to get one if you want one. (I got the one leased to Dupont to be specific.) It’s a nice car. Etched metal walkways, ACI labels, legible data you name it.

The next car I got was an Atlas 20,700 Gal tank car. Now this car was destined for the booze tub. I was going to strip this car down and re-paint it as a CGTX car. Saw them a lot as kid. Didn’t really care if CGTX did or did not own 20,700 Gal tank cars just wanted to do it. With those cars chosen and deal brokered with the girlfriend off we went to the mall. (Yes you can’t go to train store with the lady without looking at clothes after) Back to this particular Atlas tank car. I usually associate with *some exceptions* Atlas for being generally un-prototypical if that’s even a word. The car I bought was CN 80366 a water car. A car type I thought at the time was bogus. At the mall I was kind of curious about this car so I googled the number. BOOM! UP came a single picture or 80366. Upon further research I found more. 5 to be exact. I don’t know the whole nuts n bolts story about them as I’m still researching the subject however I did notice that all of the cars in this series had ACI labels on them and NOoo I’m not obsessed with automatic car identification. I came to the realization that this meant they where in service as water cars since the late 60’s. The other reason the ACI labels made this car significant is that it is not a modern car. Its been around the block so to speak making it a perfect fit for my 1985 junction layout. After all that knowledge was absorbed I then thought to myself why re-paint a perfectly good  prototype car? Other than some small errors in paint this car was bang on! What a score! Two decent tank car finds on just a browse though the local train shop.

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CN Water Car #80366 and GATX #33154 bring up the rear of today’s CN #719 out of Midland bound for Mac yard in Vaughan. After finding out the actual train number. The fictional train “251” is now known as CN #719 on the layout. CN #719 was a wayfreight that ran from the CN Macmillan yard in Vaughan Ont. all the way up to Midland Ont. via the Newmarket Sub. dropping cars off in Barrie then making its way up to Orillia Ont. where the train turned off the Newmarket Sub. and ran northwest to the town of Midland via the (Yes you guessed it.) Midland Sub. Today’s 719 has 6 cars plus a van and is seen here at Dunn’s Line heading south towards Orillia.

So when we got home I ran off to my laptop and did even more research. These cars were used to supply clean drinking water to work gang trains. Unlike the hot water tank cars that have been modelled a million times. (You know the ones with the crazy caboose stack placed on the end and the yellow expandable foam pouring out of the poorly secured insulation.) These cars were kept in good condition compared to others in company service.  In fact they are still in service today that’s almost 52 years of service since they were built in 1966. Now that all the BORING research out-of-the-way. I started to work on the model adding the essentials. Kadee #158’s, ACI labels and some black paint in spots atlas missed like the lower part of the ladder. All in all a good car and a quick project to boot. Took me 30 mins to get the car to look like the prototype seen here: http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/rsPicture.aspx?id=229953

All that’s really left to do is weather this car. Like I said above these cars stayed relatively clean. Some kick up spray here n there. Maybe some rust streaks at most. I’m trying to find a way to add a white rubber hose that ran from end to end to connect to the work train it is supplying water to. However for now I don’t have a work train so the hose will be the last detail to add some time in the near future.

What happened to the CGTX idea? Well that’s still in the works. My layout needs at least two CGTX tank cars so I’m currently looking for a good car to use as a start point or a decent stand in for that matter. Also. Who knows maybe “Tank Car Tuesdays” will become a thing? It flows well off the tongue so I’ll give it a try next week if I’m not busy. Hope you all enjoyed this update. Lots more to come. CheeRs 😉

The Ravine!

Today I put some time in on the layout slowly moving the greenery Eastward towards the Yard. On todays to-do list is a light layer of sifted dirt, static grass and some various trackside details. Some of the details include line side code line poles, snow fighting equipment and speed limit signs. Here is the result of my work so far. (I take some of my pictures in black n white due to the fact that I don’t have any lighting installed yet) :

The mile board indicates “Octopus 85.96” as the junction point (fictional name) between Newmarket and Mildland Subdivisions. The Midland splits off to the left and the Newmarket continues North. You can see the CPR Mactier Sub. in the background it parallels the CNR line for bit then disappears into staging. I run everything from sw1200’s to heavy duty SD40-2s on the CPR main line. The sign along the CPR  in the background indicates a whistle for the crossing and the green triangle below indicates junction point ahead.

The speed limit/Flanger signs are made from decals made by rapido and add operational realism to any layout. I usually cut them right off the decal paper, paint the back black and dull coat them so they don’t crumble. They are mounted on brass wire and then the wire painted black or silver depending on the prototype. In terms of operations the signs identify the speed limit in this area. For example. The Midland Branch (Right) is 10MPH and the Newmarket (Left) is 60MPH/80MPH. 80 for the Canadian along with the RDC’s I run on this layout.. The flanger signs warn the plow trains in the winter to lift their blades on crossings and switches. You don’t see very many today but in the mid 70s and 80s they where everywhere along Canada’s rail network. They came in two colours white and black for CPR and black and white for CNR.


Long Story Short

So today I decided to visit the local hobby shop and get myself a pair of  new 3800cu ft cylindrical hoppers from Rapido Trains Inc. I have to say they did a good job on these models. Finally!! A fully accurate 3800 that isn’t a 4550cu ft grain car prototype with round hatches. (ITS A LONGER CAR!!) These models look great out of the box however there are some minor issues with the roof walks warping but that can be fixed with a little CA. Kind of a downer for the price but something that can be easily fixed in my opinion.. Plus what’s the point of a hobby if you’re just buying RTR stuff without actually doing anything to it. Back to the models. Below are examples of two different styles of cylindrical hoppers that CN had on their roster from the early 70’s to present day. The one on the left was built by NSC and the one on the right was built by Marine Industries both have small variations that set them apart such as air reservoir placement, roof walk support bracket size and weld seem lines.

The NSC car on the left is painted in generic CN grey representing a car built circa 1974 and the marine industries car on the left built in the late 60’s is part of the CN billboard car circa 1971 railway promotion campaign. Or as my girlfriend calls it. “The rainbow car..” There are a couple of details to add to these cars not to mention weathering. Some of the details I’ll be adding are ACI labels, Kadee #158’s and material data labels as per prototype.

So as you probably already know if you regularly read this blog. I’m working on a new modular mid 70’s layout project that hosts two small mining operations on it. These operations one being based off of a mine in Uhthoff near Orillia Ontario and the other a generic open-pit aggregate quarry that is loosely modeled after the Lafarge pit in Uxbridge Ontario. Having a bunch of 3800’s was and is a must. These two mines will generate most of the traffic on my layout and that means more 3800’s will be needed but for the time being they will be mixed into my fleet of LONGER Intermountain cars that I am slowly replacing as time goes on.

This 1960’s hopper  or “billboard car” was part of a series of cars used to advertise how the CNR at the time was a leader in transporting various resources across Canada. It was one of 4 cars that where painted to represent the commodities that they carried and ran in a short 4 car consist across Canada. the cars later went into regular service and were seen mixed into regular freight consists. They where NOT part of the EXPO 86 ads.

Back to the models. They run great out of the box with no issues negotiating my network of hand laid track. The only issue I could find in terms of running was that they should be a couple of ounces heavier. Though that’s a personal opinion due to the fact that a large portion of track on my layout is covered with static grass made to represent deferred branch line maintenance. Other than the weight issue and roof walk warping issue I couldn’t really find anything else to complain about. Great job Rapido! Also these cars are hand-built so hats off to the workers at the LRC factory for building these near perfect representations. I’m pretty happy with them. Hope there will be a second run in the near future EH..


Today I decided to visit the CN Macmillan Yard in Vaughan as I do at least once a year. With the apparent increase in traffic and new leased power this year Mac yard was bound to be busy.. (Or so I thought) Now. Before I go into more detail. Let me warn you. Railfanning the CN Macmillan yard is not easy and very annoying at best. My spot (or only legal spot) to railfan from is located on the Southeast corner of the HWY 7 overpass. The spot is off RR property so you won’t get nabbed for trespassing and is also neatly tucked away on a sort of elevated dirt platform right beside the bridge abutments making you somewhat invisible to yard crews. Now I’ve been hearing on online articles and from CN employees that because of the recent surge in traffic most of the major CN rail yards are at capacity. That might not be true. I’ve been to Mac Yard on and off ever since I was a kid and I can tell you that it looks the same in fact the whole left side of the local yard is empty and the tracks on the far right half as shown below are in the process of being torn up. Or maybe I came on a slow day. Who knows..

Here’s a shot of Mac yard facing North. You can see the local yard bowl, west departure tracks, main yard pulldown tracks and MofW building. The local yard has its own hump however it seems to get smaller every year I come to visit. Hope it doesn’t get completely torn up anytime soon.

I usually start my trip with a stop to eat. I grab a burger at A&W and off I go. I usually walk the length of the HWY 7 bridge first to see what’s out there before I head over to my spot. Once at my spot I check my scanner and wait. The first train today was led by a pair RC SD40U’s bracketing a 200 series road slug. Kind of like the one I modelled a couple of years ago. (See my post from Nov 2015) The pair of units where screaming when they passed meaning a heavy train. I think these particular SD40U’s where trimming cars in the receiving yard but I could be wrong. It’s cool to see that CN is holding on to its SD40u’s. They sound and look great not to mention can pull 10x more cars than the regular GP9rm’s without suffering from frame damage.


The second train was quite interesting and sadly didn’t come close enough to get a good photo. The train in question was led by an unknown SW1200rs which is really really rare in to see in 2018. Here is what I got of it switching the trans load facility on the north-west side of HWY 7. I caught this during my initial walk. I know there is another SW1200rs on the property that belongs to a steel dealer on the south side of the bridge but just the fact that there are two SW1200 units in service here is kind of exciting.

BIG MAC ! 1200RS
If you look way off to the left you’ll see the lone SW1200rs switching a cut of cars into the CN transload building. I stood there for almost 20mins hoping it would come closer with no luck. On the right is a yard job assembling an outbound train. The cut of cars was so long they had to use the whole westbound departure track all the way past the HWY 7 overpass. Quite a heavy train for a lone GP9rm + HBU to handle. It was screaming when it passed under the overpass.

With the sw1200 teasing me in the back I didn’t really notice how close the east yard job was to the bridge so I scrambled to take a picture as it came close. Sadly I missed the opportunity. The locomotive was already under the overpass. The east yard job had a GP9rm and a hump booster unit with it. This is the first time I ever caught a GP9rm with a HBU on the south end. The HBU’s are usually on the north end mu-d to pair of GP38-2m’s and are strictly assigned to the dual hump. I guess maybe they where short on GP9 slugs so they used a HBU. It’s anyone’s guess. After 7253 passed I caught an eastbound departure with a pretty crazy lashup consisting of a new tier 4 Gevo, SD70ace, GP9rm and slug. Yet again I was too far to snap a pic of the power. I’m guessing the GP9 and slug where dead in tow probably in transit to another yard or facility. After that the SD40u’s came back and blocked my view. This time with a crew of three. Fearing that they would raid me in to security. I grabbed a quick farewell shot and decided it was time to go. I spent a good 2hrs at Mac Yard today and really didn’t see much in terms of leased power nor did I see the GEXR freight from Stratford that usually runs on Wednesdays.. Oh well. I hope to go back this summer and catch some more action. I think the cold limited my time there today. Hats off to the CN employees that have to work out there everyday it’s not easy. Cheer’s!


March Madness

Yearly Motive Power Inspections:

Yes oh yes its that time of year. Motive Power Inspections! Once a year usually around March I take all my power off the layout and inspect every locomotive on the roster for damage. I currently roster a whopping 12 CN locomotives 😉 lol and another 10 on the CPR. Not much in terms of motive power compared to other layouts but good enough for my needs. Anyway the process in question is quite simple..

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Here we see gp9 4411, 4493 and 4769 in the shop. 4769 received some repairs to the railings due to chipping paint. All the couplers on these units will be replaced with Kadee #158 scale head couplers once the inspection is completed.

Each locomotive shell is removed and the motor and gears checked for wear. Parts are oiled if needed and the shell goes back on. Next is the shell. The shell is inspected for damage and if the damage is found it is corrected. For example my Athearn Genesis locos have a tendency to loose paint on the railings. A quick touch up and the locomotive is cleared to proceed to the wheel cleaner. Once the locomotive passes its yearly inspection it is tested on the layout and either kept out or boxed.

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9675, 4789 and 9601 await inspection in “shop bay one”. Looks like my wide cab fleet is due for weathering and will be receiving a light coat some time this summer. 9675 is a GP40-2W, 4789 is a gp38-2w and 9601 is a GP40-2l all are Athearn Genesis models. 

This year I’m currently in the process of replacing all the couplers with Kadee #158’s. So far all my rolling stock has them installed. I bought two bulk packs to make sure my fleet has the same couplers. One thing to add to that. I usually cut the trip pins off to avoid them getting caught on crossings and speeder platforms. I don’t use magnetic uncoupling blocks so they’re useless to me..

Ugh.. Waiter? I asked for medium well: 

Lessons in the model RR world come in all shapes and sizes or depths of dirt for that matter. I was recently looking at some photos of CP 4507 on Flickr the other day when I decided to try my hand at weathering my bowser MLW c630M. I copied a picture of 4507 that was taken in the summer of 1990 somewhere between Sudbury and Levack Ontario. At that time 4507 was demoted to trailing unit status and had a pretty hefty collection of  grime on it. As a modeller I said PERFECT! But as I soon learned that its easy to over do it when it comes to weathering. “Weathering is like cooking. If you leave it in for too long. You’ll burn it!” Like I did with 4507. My initial coat of grime was too dark. The whole side of 4507 was wayyyy too dirty compared to the pics on flickr. luckily I didn’t seal anything with dull coat yet and slowly rubbed off the black soot (acrylic paint and powder) with a Q-tip till I was happy with the end result. 4507 had the wintery grime look to it where the rain washed off certain spots and the salt built up on others.


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I used a mix of powders, acrylics, oils and airbrush to capture the grime that collected on 4507 over the years.  

After my issue with the grime was corrected I proceeded with airbrushing the kick up spray on the trucks. I painted the bearing covers light blue and added fuel spill on both sides of the fuel tank. I also added some oil spill on the walkways and re-decaled all the safety labels fire extinguisher, first aid and finished it off with a torn ACI car trak. As of now I would call this unit about 70% complete. I still have to add the MU stands and wheel slip detector’s on the engineers side. For now she goes back into service on the layout. All in all a fun one night project..


CN GMD GP40 #9316:   

CN 9316 has been in the shops for almost a year its the first of 3 CN 9300 series GP40’s that I’m currently working on. CN 9316 started out life as a undecorated Atlas gold line model with DCC and sound. I custom painted and detailed it according to prototype photos. 9316 represents the prototype in its 1990’s form with the exception of the early high mounted ditch lights and the striped rock plow. The plow and ditch lights where in that configuration on the prototype unit pre-1990’s however I decided to make an exception with this model. It just looked too good to change.


9316 good

 With 9316 finished I’m turning all my attention to my current Kaslo shops GP9RM project that has been in the works for a little over a month now. Both will be at the Toronto RPM meet at Humber College on March 17th. So come on by!


Toronto RPM Meet:

The fact that its march doesn’t only mean spring is around the corner or that its time for my yearly locomotive inspections or…my birthday etc etc. It also means the Toronto RPM meet is just around the corner.


I really enjoy this event. I’ve been going for a couple years now and I’m always impressed with the level of modelling on display. From boats, stations, live steam and brass the RPM is must if you model any kind of prototype anything not to mention a way to learn new modeling techniques from the two clinics they put on.


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These are some fine examples of some of the work on display at the RPM meet. This I believe is Ryan Mendell’s work from 2015. Really liking the the CN tank hopper and refer. Above is a CN Alco/MLW s4 built and painted by Sean Steele.


With that said this year I will be bringing the following items to present:

  1. CN GP40 #9316
  2. CN GP9RM #7278
  3. CN/CP Fairmont speeders
  4. CN Fairmont tie crane
  5. CP US&S co. relay mounted intermediate signals

I also want to note that CN slug #223 will not be at the show due to a repaint. I will cover this in the next update. All in all I’m pretty excited to put #9316 on display. She’s not perfect but still one of the best locomotives I’ve built so far. Anyway. Hope to see you all there. That’s it for this update happy modelling! 🙂

A Quick CN #7278 GP9RM Update

My Cn 7278 project has progressing quite nicely so far. I’ve been trying to squeeze in as many hours into it as possible. It has been a very time-consuming project that I initially wanted to get done in time for the 2018 Toronto RPM Meet which is in a couple of weeks. I soon realized that it wouldn’t be even close to being finished in time and didn’t want to rush it. It’s better to do things slowly the right way rather than rush it and just get-r dun. Something I’ve learned the hard way in the past.  With that said I recently finished the “cab face” and interior. The locomotive cab interior is not included in the Kaslo kit so I bought one made by Miniatures By Eric. It consists of 4 brass parts. 2 seats, control stand and radio. I went ahead and painted the cab interior a shade of tan even though the real #7278 had a black and white interior. I found painting the cab interior a tan colour makes it more visible through the glass. After mounting the assembly on a styrene insert. I installed the interior into the shell after the glass inserts where permanently glued in. I realized while writing this article that taking a picture would’ve been a good idea before permanently installing. Oh well. Live and learn I guess…


After the cab interior was finished I turned my attention to the cab face. The cab face was a bit of a challenge. Call it a face lift.. Literally. 😉 My model of CN #7278 initially had a 3 class light configuration and low number boards making the cab look a bit off in appearance compared to the prototype. The real CN 7278 had a dual class light arrangement meaning I had to take all the etched parts off. (Something I realized after painting. D’oh!) I quickly modified them and “re-re-re-painted” the front of the cab. 3rd times the charm I guess. You can see the new arrangement in the pic above. Once I was happy with the cab I proceeded with the installation of the glass. Installing the glass was pretty straightforward however VERY time-consuming. All windows with exception of the all weather windows (not done yet) took me a good 2hrs to install. Each individual glass insert is mounted internally with canopy glue to keep them clear followed by the windshield wipers on the outside. With the cab glass assembled and cab interior installed work continues on the long list of things that need to get #7278 closer to being complete. I plan on bringing CN #7278 (in whatever phase its in) along with GP40 #9316 (article coming soon) to the Toronto RPM meet in a couple weeks. If you’re attending stop by and take look. Anyway.. That’s it for this update. Happy modelling! 🙂

GP9rm #7278 Hits The Shops

My GP9rm belt pack unit #7278 has been sitting on my work bench since 2014 and was desperately in needed some tlc. So with that in mind and some free time on my hands. I decided to start working on painting and detailing this old girl. Let me say one thing before I go any further. THIS PROJECT WAS NOT EASY!! This unit is and was definitely a challenge to get together so far. I will explain why below..

Rewind back to 2014:

I bought this unit off eBay 4 years ago before Kaslo Shops really had anything directly available online. Assembling it was easy..  I literally put the unit together a day after it came in the mail. Quickly finding out the seller didn’t include or lost some parts some parts half way through my build was a bit of a downer. With all the major parts missing I decided to give it a break till I could source out the right parts. Luckily I found some replacement parts and continued the build till I got bored and left it on the shelf for a couple of years.

So here we are now. A couple of years later..

With the all the major details applied back in 2014. I started by airbrushing the shell with a blend of acrylics mixed to match the prototype #7278. This particular unit was my first attempt at the CN North America livery and was a massive learning experience to say the least! It took half a roll of Tamiya masking tape to mask off all the areas that needed red and white. A lot of trial and error went into painting this unit I got everything right. Another new practise I decided to undertake on this project was deciding to spray the yellow safety stripe on the side sill. Something I’ve never done before. The results where rather satisfying. No more messing around with spaghetti like decals that break before applying.. Also saves me from the constant cursing that goes with it! Win!! 🙂 Anyway. Now that the unit is fully painted. I’m currently working on adding a plethora of detail parts from various aftermarket suppliers before installing the railings.

A brief history:

CN 7278 was one of the last GP9s rebuilt by CN in 1992 at Pointe Ste. Charles Shops in Montreal. Part of a rebuild program for old GP9 units that stretched from the mid 80s to the early 90s.  It was originally built by GMD Canada in 1959 as a light weight GP9 #4289. #7278 was cosmetically and mechanically rebuilt equipped with belt pack (remote control). #7278 was part of a group of GP9 mother daughter units that where semi permanently Mu-d to a 200 series GP9 slug and assigned to yard service. This particular unit was assigned to Symington yard in Winnipeg however moved throughout system from time to time. It was retired a couple of years ago and its status is unknown. Possibly sold or scrapped.

Here’s where I’m at with the unit so far. Work continues. I’ll be back soon with another update in a couple of weeks or so..

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Here is 7278 ready to get its waste retention tank. The waste retention tank (foreground) was made using a hollow styrene beam with capped ends. It matches the prototype tank quite well and will be airbrushed separately. Should’ve added the run off valves and piping before taking this pic..      D’oh! 

Northern Ontario “Paper On Wheels”

Hope everyone is enjoying their thanksgiving weekend!!. .. This weekend I decided to start weathering my fleet of NSC, FMC and PS boxcars. I started with the first of 3 GTW NSC boxcars for paper service. After doing a bit of research I noticed that most of the NSC boxcars that the GTW owned faded from the factory paint to a faded light blue. I achieved this by mixing light blue acrylic paint with water applying it to the model in coats. Then drying it in layers with a hair dryer on a low heat setting to prevent the plastic from melting. After the paint dried I used a toothpick with the tip soaked in 99% isopropyl alcohol to scratch out all the reporting marks.. It honestly felt like a scratch card from hell because this model had a lot of small details in peculiar spots. Here is what the car looks like after the fade.

Quick fact about paper service in the area I model.. Both CN and CP Rail served dozens of lumber/paper mills on both lines in the Ottawa valley. CN served the Smurfit Stone paper mill in Portage Du Fort QC near Ottawa. CP/OVR served a massive Tembec newsprint mill in Temiscaming QC. Both mills plus others along the line meant there where always large amounts of boxcars needed to haul paper and wood products in the area making them a common sight. This GTW boxcar is billed to the Smurfit mill in Portage and is awaiting pickup by the next CN eastbound freight.

In the prototype photo this particular car had a couple rust spots on side and rear. Instead of using oil paint to simulate the rust I decided to use acrylic mixed with flour. I mix red, yellow, brown to simulate the rust then add a bit of flour so it flakes like real rust. After the rust spots are done I go over them with with just strait acrylic paint mixed with a bit of water so it runs down the side of the car. Once that was done I gave the car a wash of flat black and then sealed it with dull coat to keep the rust paint mix from flaking any further.

Here’s another look at the car. I added a filter so you can see where I added the rust spots and black grime wash. On the prototype the ACI label (red white blue label on the side of the car) was torn in some corners so I represented that by scraping it with a toothpick till the corners of the decal came off.

CN, GTW, CP, BCRR owned NSC 50′ plug door boxcars that where built between 1975-1980. My model railway operates 4 CN versions, 3 GTW and 2 CP rail boxcars. I use/mix them in with my fleet of 50′ PS and FMC boxcars.

Finally. To finish the car off I went over the underbody of the car with weathering chalks. The wheel faces are painted with acrylic then dusted with weathering chalks. I’d like to note that its easy to make mistakes with the acrylic wash but I found that you can literally erase your mistakes with a Q-tip and some isopropyl alcohol.

I’d also like to stress that I’m still learning this process and that I only intend to go through how I weathered these cars. I see a lot of people online preaching about different methods that don’t usually work. I don’t intend anyone to try this.. I am not an expert. Remember, Its your railway.

Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

PSC Cabooses on the ALDR!

I’m going to go right into this one because like most “CN guys” having a Pointe St. Charles caboose is essential. Now.. It’s been a long time coming for these gems to finally hit the market as an RTR model. Let me tell you! And yes yes, I know this article is kind of late due to the fact that they where released over two months ago. But whatever. Still relevant if you’re as big of CN fan/modeller as I am.

Lets get into a brief background on this model and prototype for those of you who aren’t familiar with it. Back in the late 60’s early 70’s CN had an aging fleet of post war wooden cabooses built from old boxcars. With the aging fleet getting becoming problematic across the system tail end crews needed something that was more comfortable and reliable.  CN commissioned the construction of over 700 steel cabooses. They had better visibility, built in marker lights, wheel generators that powered the lights and oil stoves. They came in 3 types. The “transfer van”, the Hawker Siddeley and the PSC. The PSC was the most common system wide. The PSC’s where all built the same however they came in various paint schemes depending on what they where assigned to do. With the advent of EOT’s in the late 90’s CN didn’t see a need for the caboose fleet and most where sold or scrapped. Some managed to stay on the roster. There currently 14 are still in work service on the CN network today.

Now back our regularly scheduled programming! .. – Changes channel – 😉  .. Okay so True Line trains announced this model a little over a year n a half ago. (To my knowledge at least). I first saw a sample at the local hobby shop and was sold on the spot. That same week I had some money saved up for a brass model so it didn’t come at a better time plus the price was a steal compared to the overland one that I was going to buy. Anyway.. I went ahead and ordered two variations of the reg. CN plus an un-numbered kit for some added flavour. After the long wait they finally arrived and MAN did they ever look good! I gotta hand it to Darren at Trueline Trains really did a really nice job getting all the details correct. There are however some factory issues (extra flashing) with the inside of the front and rear back plates but nothing too serious. Just a slice with the hobby knife will fix it. Before I go into more details about my new cabooses here’s a couple photo’s I took of them on the layout.

The first one 79399 is an early version of the PSC. It has centred stove exhaust stacks and ACI labels. The second is 79883. 79883 is a later model with the standard exhaust stacks. It came as an un-numbered kit. I chose 79883 because it was photographed in the area I’m modelling on the prototype. 79883 still needs to be sealed with gloss and matt varnish.  

Although I don’t run through trains on my modular layout yet. Both cabooses still serve many purposes on local freights and yard movements. Operating them adds some variety to the workload of spotting and dropping off transfers not to mention the realism it adds to the era I’m trying to model.

Here is 79399 sitting on the CP/CN interchange track waiting to pull forward. Today its heading up to the CP interchange yard to drop off a couple of pulpwood cars.

All in all I’m pretty happy with these RTR models. They’re a must have for any CN layout. They will eventually get weathered.. Along with my CN fleet.. Hopefully.. One day aha.

Back to the model. The international service caboose I bought is currently getting front and rear ditch lights. I noticed that some modellers have attempted to add them with some pretty impressive results. I thought why not? So I will update this post in the future with a “Part Two” showing how I managed to get the LED’s working. Also., I will add I am not a fan of the yellowy green interior lighting so like all my cabooses I run them dark.

With all that out of my system lol.. Hope you guys enjoyed this rant/post on the Trueline Trains PSC. Till next time and happy modelling 🙂



image2This past summer I haven’t done much blogging because of the nice weather, my job commitments etc. I’m still here and i’ve got a lot to talk about so let me start by sharing what i’ve been planning for the layout. As you know my layout is made up of 3 modular sections… “The CP/CN Junction” (module 1), “The yard lead” (module 2 featured in most of my photos) and lastly “The CNR North Bay yard”.

My focus is to finish “the junction” module by December 2016. I’ve already started hand laying tracks, building, wiring the road crossing and did some basic scenery work.

Here are some pictures of the CN crossing, the CP Rail interchange track is on the left of the picture. It connects to the CP North Bay sub. in the background.


All of the CN Alderdale Subdivision west of module 2 is now completed. This weekend I plan on focusing on getting the CP interchange track down and tested. The road crossing was the most time consuming part of the whole project. I hand cut scale lumber to custom fit this odd road crossing. then I had to test sand down the flange ways so the train wheels can smoothly roll through the crossing without derailing. As for the crossing gates I used NJ international pre-assembled gates to protect the road however I think the crossing gate arms are too short and don’t match the prototype. I plan on making longer arms out of styrene strips to match the proper length of 15ft.


The crossing gates have an interesting story. The crossing gates are salvaged from my North Toronto module I built as a teen. I learned may lessons on how not to install working grade crossings on that diorama lol.  Now.. I wanted to match the round concrete bases that most of the gated crossings in the North Bay area have. I achieved that by using a large diameter styrene tube. The tube doesn’t just add realism. Once its painted it works as a way to neatly thread the wires to the circuit board under the layout that operates the crossing. As you can see in the picture there’s a smaller second tube. This tube is used to house the small steel arm that opens and closes the gate. It needs to be clear of any layout scenery obstructions so the servo under the layout can raise and lower the arm properly.


This past March I attended the 2016 Toronto prototype modellers meet. I put 3 of my models on display my CN slug 223, CN GP40 9312 and my CN GP9RM. 223 seemed like an interesting addition to the the meet but I never thought it would be featured in the August edition of RMC. I hope to have both the GP9RM and 223 fully completed for the  March 2017 meet!


I have a couple models I’m currently working on for the next meet and hope to have them finished  and ready to display.

Before I go into more details about what I have planned for the 2017 RPM meet I’d like to thank  Trevor Marshall for featuring my work as part of RMC’s coverage of the Toronto RPM meet. You can check out his amazing S scale layout here http://themodelrailwayshow.com/cn1950s/

The models that should be finished for March include my CP GMD SD40, CP GMD GP38-2 and the rest? Well, That was the hint. 😉

With all that said I hope to post some more progress pics later this week. Hope y’all enjoyed my story/gallery. There is a lot more to come. Happy model railroading!